“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.”

“Paul, an apostle”
Literally:  “Paul {an} apostle ” (Paulos aposolos)

What is an apostle?  It was the highest office the Church has ever had.  No one today is an apostle in the church for the simple reason that they cannot meet the requirements.  The requirements are:
1.      An apostle received his commission directly from the living Jesus.

Paul had received his commission directly from the living Jesus on his road to Damascus (Acts 9.  He made that claim for himself (Gal. 1:1).  For this reason I believe that  Paul took the place of Judas.  The disciples had selected Matthias, but nowhere in the Bible do we find that Jesus Christ ever did so.  Besides, there is nowhere in the N.T. to show that Christ, or the Holy Spirit, gave their approval of the selection of Matthias, for there is no more mention of him anywhere else in the N.T., other than his election by the apostles in Acts 1.  Also, this selection took place before the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, so it was definitely not led by the Holy Spirit.

  1.        An apostle must have seen the resurrected Jesus.
           Paul could meet that requirement, for he saw Him on the Road to Damascus.
  2.        The apostles exercised a special inspiration. 
           They expounded and wrote Scripture (see John 14:26; 16:13; Gal. 1:11-12).  Paul measures up to that more than any other apostle.
  3.        They exercised supreme authority over the Church (see John 20:22-23; II Cor. 10:8).

The badge of their authority was the power to work miracles (see Mark 6:13); Luke 9:12; Acts 2:43).  Such power is not invested in men today. The apostles were given a universal commission to found churches (II Co4. 11:28); in fact, they were the foundation of the Church (Eph. 2:20).  Paul met all of these requirements for apostleship.

      “of Jesus Christ”
       Literally:  “of Christ Jesus”

        CHRIST:  (Christosthe Anointed One)– This is His title, NOT His NameChrist is What  He is, not Who He is.  Peter said, “…Thou are the Christ, the  Son of the Living God” (Matt. 16:16).  Jesus was His human name–Who He is.  In the Greek writings, Paul always emphasized the Name of Christ first:  this should more correctly read, “an apostle of Christ Jesus.” 

by the will of God”
Literally:  “through {the} will of God

         That is, by the command and appointment of God;  by the secret will and purpose of God, by which he was a chosen vessel, to bear the name of Christ among the Gentiles, (Acts 9:15) and by the revealed will of God, signified by the Spirit of God, who said, “separate me Saul and Barnabas, for the work whereunto I have called them”, (Acts 13:2) and shows, that it was not owing to any worth or merit in him, but purely to the free grace and sovereign will and pleasure of God, that he was made an apostle of Christ.  Paul was called to the apostleship through that same “will” (thelêmawish; desire)–that created the Church (vv. 5 ,9, 11; compare Gal 1:4).
         Paul rested his apostleship upon the will of God, rather than any personal ambition or will of man or request of a church (see Gal. 1:15-16; I Tim. 1:12-13).  Emphasis is placed in most of Paul's epistles upon the fact that he was not an apostle by the appointment of man, but by the will of God.
         It is a matter of great consolation to the ministers of Christ, as well as great satisfaction to their people, that their calling is from God, and not from themselves; that they speak not in their own names but by commission received from Christ, whose ambassadors they are.

“to the saints of God at Ephesus”
Literally:  “to the saints being in Ephesus”

         All Christians were called “saints” in the early church. See the salutations of other Epistles. A saint (hagios) is one who has trusted Christ as his/her personal Savior and is set aside for the sole use of God.  There are only two kinds of people today:  the saints (all saved people) and the aint’s (all unsaved people).
         The word for saint is hagiois, which means, “holy,” or “separated.”  The primary intent of the word is, “set aside for the sole use of God; that which belongs
to God.”
  This is the intent of the Greek word for Church (ekklêsia)-a called out” assembly; from (ek)—“out of” and (klêis)—“a calling,” and from the verb (kalêô)—“to call.”  The saints are the “called out ones,”i.e., the Church.

          By the term “saints” (hagiois) we are to understand that Paul is writing to those who in that place professed Christianity, and were members of the Christian Church.  Saint properly signifies a holy person, and such the Gospel of Christ requires every man to be, and such every true believer is, both in heart and life; however, “saint” appears to have been as ordinary a denomination of believers in Christ in those primitive times, as the term “Christian” is now.        

       IN EPHESUS: You could really put in the name of your own town herE.

      “and to the faithful in Christ Jesus”
       Literally:  “and faithful in Christ Jesus”–

These are the believers. The persons who received Christ as the promised Messiah, and the Savior of the world, and continued in the grace which they had received.   Understand that the “believers” and the “saints” are the same persons–the same persons are referred to by both designations.

          SAINTS:  (hagois); FAITHFUL (pistois)–The sanctification by God (hagois is here put before man's faith (pistois). The twofold aspect of salvation is thus presented: God's grace in the first instance sanctifying us–that is, setting us apart in His eternal purposes as holy unto Himself); and our faith, by God's gift, laying hold of salvation (II Thess. 2:13; I Pet. 1:2).  A believer should be saintly, and a saint should be faithful.  The term saint is the God-ward aspect of Christians; while the term believer is the man-ward aspect of Christians.      

     IN CHRIST JESUS: (en Christôi Iêsou)– Probably the most important word in the NT is that little preposition, “in.” 

What does it mean to be saved?  It means to be in Christ Jesus.”  Being “in” Christ Jesus is the great accomplishment of salvation: “Ye in Me and I in you” (John 15:4).  The believer is in Christ and Christ is in the believer.  We are joined to Him.

“Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ”

  “Grace be to you and peace”
   Literally:  “grace to you and peace”

These two words grace(charis) and peace (eirênê) may be viewed in two ways:

1.      As a religious salutation, taken from the manner of the Jews, who expressed their desires for one another's well-doing, by wishing  peace, that is, all kind of happiness and prosperity to each other; Christianity does neither forbid nor abolish, but does spiritualize and improve, civility, humanity, and common courtesy.
2.     As an apostolic benediction, in imitation of the priest's blessing, Num. 6:1. The apostles were the patriarchs or spiritual fathers of the church of the New Testament, as the sons of Jacob were of the Old; accordingly they bless their children.

     GRACE: (charis)–literally “favor”—was the common greeting among Greeks and Romans; was the form of greeting of the Gentile world in Paul’s day. What Paul is saying, is, “May you be partakers of the Divine favor, the source from whence every blessing comes.

      PEACE:  (eirênê)–“Peace” was the common greeting to Jews—(Hebrew: shalom–shalom), but here, because this is the Greek text, the Greek word, (eirênê) is used.  This word is used in about every N.T. book except in I John.  The Lord Jesus several times greeted His disciples with the phrase, “peace be unto you.” Grace and peace is Paul’s formal introduction in all of his letters.

          Paul takes both these words that were common greetings of his day and gives them both a wonderful new meaning.  The grace of God is the means by which He saves us.  You must first experience the grace of God before you can experience the peace of God.  Paul always puts them in that order:  grace before peace (see Rom. 5:1).  The grace and peace desired for the readers by the writer are blessings which come only from God the Father and from Christ.
         Grace first, and peace as its consequence.  That peace which does not come to us as the result of grace is false and dangerous.  Note how Paul links the Father and the Lord Jesus together; for neither grace nor peace can come to us, except through God in Christ Jesus.

“from God our Father, and {from} the Lord Jesus Christ”
Literally:  “from God our Father and {the} Lord Jesus Christ

         The grace and peace are from the Father; in fact, He becomes our Father when we experience the grace and are regenerated (“washing of regeneration”–Titus 3:5) by the Spirit of God.  Grace and peace also come from the Christ Jesus.
          Or grace from God as a Father; thereby denoting, that God does not bestow His grace as a Creator, but as a Father in Christ, in a discriminating way and peculiar manner. And peace from our Lord Jesus Christ; He being the Purchaser of our peace, He upon whom the chastisement of our peace was laid, and He that made peace for us by the blood of His cross; and thereupon God of His free grace accepts us, justifies us, and is at peace with us.

“and {the} Lord Jesus Christ”
He being the purchaser of our peace, he upon whom the chastisement of our peace was laid, and He that made peace for us by the blood of His cross; and thereupon God of His free grace accepts us, justifies us, and is at peace with us. 

         Why didn’t Paul say they also came from the Holy Spirit?  It is becauset the Holy Spirit is already in Ephesus, indwelling the believers there.  The Lord Jesus was seated at God’s right hand in the heavens.  We need to keep our geography straight when we study the Bible.  Many people get their theology warped because they don’t have their geography right; and when we get that straightened out, it helps our theology.
         Such as have received most grace from God, stand in farther need of supplies of grace from Him; they are thankful for peace, but they cannot content themselves with peace without grace; they desire both to have the heart and love of God set upon them, as well as pacified towards them; they desire to be pardoned, but above all seek to be beloved of the Father.


“Blessed by God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”

This commences one of Paul’s famous long sentences which continues to the close of verse 12.

“Blessed be God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”
Literally:  “blessed {is} the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”

         This is very important.  We pronounce Him blessed.  He makes us blessed.  The word “blessed” has in it the thought of happiness and joy.  Paul is not speaking here of something that may be ours when we get to heaven; on the contrary, he is speaking of that which is ours now.
         We bless the Lord when we ascribe to Him the honor due His holy Name.  But He blesses us in a sublime sense:  for we exist and subsist by His sanction and permission, and all the material goods we enjoy flow from His bountiful stores. 

        BLESSED:  (eulogêtos)–This is one from which our English word eulogize is derived.  It means, therefore, primarily, “to praise.” This word differs from the word rendered as “blessed” in the Beautitudes (makarios) which denotes “character” while this word here denotes repute or reputation–literally:  “well spoken of.”

“who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings”
Literally:  “who blessed us with every spiritual blessing”

With the pure doctrines of the Gospel, and the abundant gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, justifying, sanctifying, and building us up on our most holy faith. And with all manner of spiritual blessings, which are heavenly in their nature, original, and tendency, and shall be completed in heaven: far different from the external privileges of the Jews, and the earthly blessings they expected from the Messiah.

WHO HATH BLESSED US:  (ho eulogêsas hêmas)–The “blessed” (eulogeô) is here from the same root. The word means, as above, “to praise,” or to “speak” good things of one; then to “speak” good things to, or bestow blessings, as a secondary meaning. This is the meaning here.

                 US:  (hêmas)–All true believers.

         “in heavenly {places} in Christ.”
         Literally:  “in the heavenlies with Christ”

You will notice that “places” is in italics in the text, meaning that the word is not in the Greek text and was added by the translators.  Here we are; blessed with all spiritual blessings, and it is in the heavenlies.  If you are going to heaven, God considers that you are already there in Christ.  He has blessed you in the heavenlies and you are there regardless of what your position is down here.

“according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:”

“according as He hath chosen us in Him”
Literally:  “even as He chose us in Him

         “As He has decreed from the beginning of the world, and has kept in view from the commencement of the religious system of the Jews, (which the phrase sometimes means,) to bring us Gentiles to the knowledge of this glorious state of salvation by Christ Jesus.  The Jews considered themselves an elect or chosen people, and wished to monopolize the whole of the Divine love and beneficence.            
         “Paul here shows that God had the Gentiles as much in the contemplation of His mercy and goodness as He had the Jews; and the blessings of the Gospel, now so freely dispensed to them, were the proof that God had thus chosen them, and that His end in giving them the Gospel was the same which He had in view by giving the law to the Jews, viz. that they might be holy and without blame before him. 

        “And as His object was the same in respect to them both, they should consider that, as he loved them, so they should love one another: God having provided for each the same blessings, they should therefore be “holy,” (hagious), fully separated from earth and sin, and consecrated to God and “without blame,” (amômous),  having no spot nor imperfection, their inward holiness agreeing with their outward consecration.  The words are a metaphor taken from the perfect and immaculate sacrifices which the law required the people to bring to the altar of God.  But as love is the fulfilling of the law, and love the fountain whence their salvation flowed, therefore love must fill their hearts towards God and each other, and love must be the motive and end of all their words and works.”Adam Clarke’s Commentary

       ACCORDING AS:  (kathôs)–Is a connective which explains the preceding statement in verse 3.  The spiritual blessings which you and I are given is in according with the divine will.  All is done in perfect unison with God’s purpose.

The phrase implies that these blessings were in conformity with that eternal plan, and have flowed to us as the expression of that plan. They are limited by that purpose, for it marks and measures all. It was as God had chosen that it should be, and had appointed in his eternal purpose.

HATH CHOSEN US:  (exelexato hemas)—Literally:  “chose us out for Himself” (namely, out of the world, Gal. 1:4): referring to His original choice, spoken of as past.

         The word “us” here shows that Paul had reference to individuals, and not to communities. It includes Paul himself as one of the “chosen,” and those whom he addressed–the mingled Gentile and Jewish converts in Ephesus. That it must refer to individuals is clear. Of no community, as such, can it be said, that it was “chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy.”
         Paul always thought of God as having chosen him for the ministry, not that he had himself done the choosing.  This is true of all who are “laborers in the field.”  In John 15:16 the Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “You did not choose Me but I chose you.”  Here is the glorious wonder of it all:  that God would condescend to choose us.  And just think:  this choosing was done even before the world was created!

“before the foundation of the world”
Literally: “before {the} foundation of {the} world”

         This assumes the eternality of the Christ (John 17:5,24), as of the election of believers in Him (II Tim. 1:9; II Thess.  2:13).  God planned our salvation way back yonder in eternity past before you and I were even in this world at all; in fact, before this world even existed.  God did not choose us because we were good, or because we would do some good; but He did choose us so that we could do some good.  The entire choice is thrown back upon the sovereignty of the wisdom and goodness of God.
         This does not affirm that God chose some individuals and rejected others, (as is taught by those who advocate Limited Atonement)  but that before the world was, before there was Jew or Gentile, God chose to have a people for Himself, the whole church of Christ, a covenant people confined to no one earthly race.

         “that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:”
         Literally:  “for us to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.”

         Paul goes on to tell us why God chose His people. He did not choose us just so we could enter into heaven; neither did He chose us so that we may flatter ourselves that we are better than other people.  God chose us so that we could emulate Him; that is, that we could be holy.  The holiness of God is one of the most important, and most neglected, doctrines in the Bible.  In the visions of Himself which God gave men in the Scriptures, the one thing that stood out most prominent was His holiness.

1.      “Who is like unto Thee, O LORD among the gods?  Who is like  Thee, glorious in holiness (Exodus 15:11).
2.      “And ye shall be holy unto Me:  for I the LORD am holy” (Lev. 20:26).
3.      “Holy and revered is His Name” (Psa. 111:9).
4.      “And one (angel) cried unto another, and said, “Holy, Holy is the LORD God of hosts:  the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isa. 6:3).

         Although the holiness of God is the one attribute that He most wants us to recognize, it is sad to say, but none-the-less true, that it is the one thing that men either do not recognize, or do not choose to recognize.  The reason for this lacking is that when we get a glimpse of the holiness of God it will give us an abhorrence of our sins and brings us down into the dust.  Our ego and pride cannot bear for this to happen. Unfortunately, We Believers Profane God’s Holiness.

By Our Actions before the World

EXAMPLE:  King David (II Sam. 11:1-1)

         The worst thing about David’s sin was not that he was an adulterer; it was not even that he had murdered Uriah, the Hittite.  No, the worst thing about David’s sin is found in II Sam. 12:14.  Nathan the prophet pointed at David and said, “Because you have done this you have given the enemies of God cause to blaspheme him.”
         Too many Christian live by situation ethics.  God give us men who will say, “Sin is Sin!”  It’ll always be black.  It’ll never be gray.  God give us men who will say, “Help me Oh God to never sin against you.”

By Our Reaction to Affliction

         You know the story.  Job loved God and he hated sin.  The devil came to God and said, “The only reason that Job serves You is because You’ve built a hedge around him.  Take his wealth and he’ll curse You.”
         So God told the devil he could take away anything he wanted from Job.  So one day Job heard that his cattle had been stolen; he heard that his sheep had been burnt up and his servants were killed.  He heard that his children were eating in the house and the roof caved in and killed them.  In John 1:21:22 we read the testimony of this man of God.
         The devil came back to God and said, “If you touch Job’s body, he’ll then curse you and die.”  So God told the devil he could touch Job’s body, but he couldn’t take Job’s life.  So one day Job woke up with boils all over his body, from the top of his head to the soles of his feet
         I believe a man can stand about anything, can stand about any trial, if his wife stands with him.  But Job’s wife did not stand with him.  She kept telling him to curse God and die.  In spite of all that Job was going through, this great man of God said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him:  but I will maintain mine own ways before Him.”

By Our Reaction to our Own Sins.

1.     God give us men who have the tenacity of  Joseph!
2.     God give us men who have the tenderness of Ezra (Ezra 9:5-6)

         I think about the revival in Josiah’s day (II Kings 22:19).  If we are ever to have revival in America; if we are ever to have revival in our churches, we are going to have to have Christians who are broken about the sin in their own lives.  I find in the Bible that no man was ever used of God who had not first been broken about his own sin.  Would to God that Christians could get hold of this fact of the HOLINESS OF GOD!  Would to God that unsaved sinners could get hold of the facts of God’s holiness and their own un-holiness!
       His holiness is so important to God that He commands (not asks or requests) that we who are His children could also be holy.  When we Christians get a proper vision of the holiness of God, we will recognize ourselves for what we are, and we will see the lost and dying around us for what they are.

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